3 out of 4 stars
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Charlotte Luce is a smart, successful woman. She is the first female and the youngest market president in her bank’s history. She can lock in loans and manage her employees with ease. When it comes to men, however, it’s a different story. One look from an attractive man and Charlotte morphs back into Lottie, the awkward, chubby schoolgirl, tongue-tied and blushing from her ears to her toes. But finally, Charlotte has it all. She’s got herself a stable, long-term relationship, and even though it lacks some spontaneity and intimacy, she’s got everything under control. That is, until Nick breezes back into town and into her bank on a mission to save his father’s marina from foreclosure.
Nick was her best friend growing up and the first boy she fell in love with. He’s also the first who broke her heart. Having to confront him makes her realize that she still hasn’t forgiven him for what he did to her. In order to deal with him, she will have to face her old feelings of hurt and anger. And are there possibly still some lingering feelings of love in there too?
Lottie Loser by Dana L. Brown is the first book in the Anna Maria Island series, which draws its name from the Florida beach town where the novel is set. Although this novel appears that it’s going to follow the predictable template of your typical beach-read romance, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book has a pretty surprising plot twist toward the end. In fact, there is a cliffhanger ending, which guides the reader straight to book two to find out what’s going to happen.
The book is told from the third-person perspective of Charlotte. It alternates between “Now” and “Then,” mixing the present-day story with flashbacks to her childhood and early adulthood as Lottie. I thought this structure worked well in this book. The reader can see Charlotte interact with Nick as an adult and can slowly discover the details of their history through the flashbacks. This writing style kept me not wanting to put the book down so I could learn more about both the past and the present. I also think that it helped with enriching the character development because the reader gets to see the life events that made each character who they are today.
I took an instant liking to Charlotte, and I wanted the best for her, even though it was sometimes hard to figure out what that might be. My only quibble is that I would have liked to see more depth to her. I struggled to figure out why all of these hot, eligible guys kept falling in love with her. From her own descriptions, we know she is smart, pretty, and well-endowed, but it would have been nice to see some glimpses of a deeper personality that would really draw men in, even if she can’t quite see those qualities in herself. Because of this, I felt the plot lacked believability.
Overall, I rate Lottie Loser 3 out of 4 stars. It was easy and enjoyable to read, and I really liked the book structure. Because I had a hard time really buying into the premise that Charlotte was so irresistible to men, however, I wouldn’t say I loved the novel, and I won’t be rushing out to get the second book in the series. The book was well edited, as I only noticed a couple of errors. I would recommend this to anyone who likes romance novels and is looking for a fun, easy summer read. I would not categorize this book as erotica, but there are enough sex scenes to keep me from recommending this book to younger readers or people sensitive to that kind of content.
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